Thursday, November 12, 2009

Korea news links for November 12, 2009: Tensions running high all around

Tensions are high in the Yellow Sea, where ROK sent more of the navy to be on guard for further provocations by DPRK boats, even as Seoul (and Washington) insist that things should remain business as usual with North Korea.

But the tension off the west coast is small potatoes compared to the tension felt by thousands of wee ones as they waited in line to get poked with a needle in order to vaccinated for H1N1. "We have to hurt you to help you." Phht... what child believes that?!

And for the older kids, namely the ones who will be finishing high school in a few months, tensions are high as they prepare to face down the CSAT (Collegiate Something Something-beginning-with-A Test... all I know is that the "C" does not stand for Corea; thank God, otherwise I'd have a frickin' aneurysm every time I saw that), also known as the Sunŭng. Good look, Cho Jaesu!

[above: "Aaaagh! It hurts! This is clearly the result of a paranoid overreaction to a virus that has proven far weaker than experts had claimed, but which the government continues to raise alarm about in order to justify its own embarrassing overkill to stamp out a phantom pandemic that has killed only a few dozen people so far, most of them sick with something else anyway," says first-grader Park Sujin of Tobong-ku Ward.]
  1. Masked government operatives inject vulnerable citizens with experimental substance Vaccinations against H1N1 "swine flu" virus begin at elementary, middle, and high schools; 7.5 million children will eventually be given one-shot treatment (Korea Times, Korea Herald)
  2. Seoul approves border crossings into North Korea to ease tensions following Yellow Sea naval clash as some ROK groups hold back on visits (Bloomberg, Yonhap); South Korea says existing inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation will go forward as usual (Yonhap, Xinhua)
  3. South Korean military chief says nothing unusual is going on in waters of west coast (Xinhua); sends more warships to area anyway (AFP, Yonhap)
  4. Nation hushes today so that college hopefuls can take the college entrance exam (Donga Ilbo)
  5. South Korean unemployment rate drops to 3.4%, lowest point in nine months (Bloomberg); Yonhap says 3.2% is lowest point in eleven months (Yonhap)
  6. Seoul considers steps to boost bank liquidity (Reuters); South Korean authorities spotted buying dollars to cap KRW's rise (Reuters)
  7. Presidents of South Korea and Chile, meeting at the Blue House, agree to upgrade five-year-old FTA to pave way for further market opening (Korea Herald, Korea Times, Joongang Daily)
  8. Lee administration and ruling Hannara Party agree to draft an alternative to controversial Sejong City plan (Yonhap, Korea Herald)
  9. Seoul to ban smoking in taxis starting in December (Korea Times)
  10. DMB advertising revenue hits a record high last month (Korea Herald)
  11. Former Hyundai executive who fled to South Korea pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter in 2005 drunk driving-related hit-and-run case in Orange County (links here)
  12. "Really persistent driver license vegetable lady" replaces Kim Yuna and Rain as world's most famous Korean in Gallup/Zogby survey; clothing line and trot album are planned (BBC)

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